BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Nov. 29, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that North Carolina-based Critcher Bros. will be showcased during the months of November and December in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Critcher Bros. will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown cabbage to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to North Carolina agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores senior vice president, perishable food division. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in North Carolina. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
Critcher Bros. was founded in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina in 1952 by Dwight Critcher and his brothers. Today, Critcher Bros. is owned by Roger Critcher, Dwight’s son. The produce company specializes in growing cabbage and potatoes year-round, and has supplied Wal-Mart with cabbage for nearly 12 years. Each year, Critcher Bros. supplies Wal-Mart with approximately 28 million pounds of cabbage.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” said John Critcher, general manager of Critcher Bros. “We’re thrilled that through our relationship with them, we’ve been able to bring more Critcher Bros. cabbage to homes throughout North Carolina and surrounding areas.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and each month will showcase one local grower from each of four states. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the upcoming year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Critcher Bros., Wal-Mart suppliers Bushman’s Inc. in Wisconsin, Western Missouri Fruit Sales in Missouri and Mississippi Valley Fruit Company in Minnesota are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Critcher Bros. is an important supplier to the agricultural industry in the state of North Carolina,” said Jeff Jennings, North Carolina Manager of Domestic Marketing. “We take great pride in our local farmers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state. Wal-Mart’s state-wide partnership of our ‘Got to Be NC’ local products campaign this summer showed their commitment towards the growers and producers in our state earlier this year.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of North Carolina in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $3,495,542,427 for merchandise and services with 1,822 suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 91,474 supplier jobs in the state of North Carolina.*
As of October 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in North Carolina includes 82 Supercenters, 34 Discount Stores and 19 SAM’S Clubs. It also has four Distribution Centers for a total of 47,245 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more that $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet
North Carolina Department of Agriculture